10 Decluttering Tips to Use Today

My family and I just moved a few months ago and with three kids and three cats, I think it is needless to say my house is cluttered. I have been trying to unpack but as a chronic clutter person, it's really hard.

I am all about having decluttering tips and taking baby steps because otherwise I get so overwhelmed. There is so much to do in an average day it's hard to add on decluttering to the mix! Don't despair, here are some great decluttering tips to help you stay sane!

10 decluttering tips to simplify your life

If you've been procrastinating on a home decluttering project, chances are the reason behind your hesitation is feeling overwhelmed or just not knowing where to start. Those things can trip anyone up on the road to organization. When you find yourself stuck in a pattern of avoidance, the best method to change that pattern is to start with small tasks. Even doing just one little thing is progress. To help you along your way, consider one of these dozen tiny decluttering tips you can use today.

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What is really involved in decluttering?

The World English Dictionary defines decluttering as the act of getting rid of mess and disorder. This is generally a two-step process:

  1. Get rid of the current clutter you have in your home.
  2. Avoid letting additional clutter into your home.

How to declutter efficiently

Start small when you begin decluttering. If your home is cluttered, going through and getting rid of things will seem intimidating. It is easy to become discouraged and overwhelmed. By starting small, even with one single dresser drawer, you see how much you can accomplish in a short amount of time.

packing boxes for decluttering

Enlist the help of someone you trust. Perhaps your family is full of clutter bugs and they really are not interested in moving out of CHAOS (Can't Have Anyone Over Syndrome). If they will not help you, ask a friend to do it instead. Not only will your friend be there to give encouragement, they may also be able to help you with the hard decisions that often come up when deluttering.

Get four boxes

  • Keep in this room
  • Toss
  • Donate/Give/Sell
  • Keep (store elsewhere)

Put the boxes in the area where you will start. Try to handle each item only once. When you pick something up, decide if you will keep it in the room where it now is; if it is garbage and can be tossed; if you no longer need it and it can be donated or given; or if it is to be kept in a different location. Look at each item and put it one of the boxes.

When you review each item, try to think about how often you have used it in the last year. Be honest with yourself. If the item has not been used in a year, it is time to let it go - either in the trashcan or into the Donate box so someone else can use out of it.

Be aware of the things you bring into your home. Quickly go through your mail outside near the garbage can. Important mail goes under your elbow. Everything else is probably junk mail and does not need to enter the house. While you open your mail, write down important dates on a calendar. You can then file the mail if still needed or shred it if it has personal information on it.

Adopt the one in/one out rule. If you purchase a new item, with this rule, you would also get rid of one item. This item could be something related to what you purchased or something non-related. The point is to get into the habit of removing one item each time a new item comes into the home.

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empty counter

1. Clear Just One Surface

Clear your kitchen table. If that's too overwhelming, choose a segment of your countertop. Make it a surface you see daily, and be sure to keep it spotless. I like to try and clean out my kitchen area daily. It helps keep my sanity throughout the incoming mail, piles of homework and dinner preparation.

"Clutter tends to accumulate if items don't have a designated place where they are stored," says Stacey Platt, author of What’s a Disorganized Person to Do? and owner of DwellWell, a lifestyle management company in New York City.

Home Organization Ideas for the Kitchen

pots 716579 640

2. Empty a Shelf (or a Box)

Now that you have a surface cleared that you will see every day to provide you motivation, you can move on to another small task. Empty just one shelf. Remember to continue to keep it neat. This also applies to those who have just moved, like me. I've been trying to move on to one box each time my kitchen is cleared. Every time I clean up the dishes in the kitchen and finish up the daily chores, I try to empty one box or clutter spot.

3. Designate a Paper Zone

Nothing accumulates and gets out of control like papers. Designate an area as a catchall for your paperwork, and always place new papers in that tray or box. Make sure you go through the papers once a week as well and further organize them.

4. Find Homes for 5 Things

We all have a few items that never seem to get put away. Carefully choose your five most commonly left-out items, and find special places to store them. Even if it's a basket on the counter, things will feel more neat if they are corralled in one spot.

5. Donate Three Pieces of Clothing

Clothes are often the worst to declutter. Choose just three pieces to give away each day while getting ready. Soon you'll have a bag full. How many pieces of clothing do you look at and say "no way" each time you get dressed? Well, it's time to chuck them!

Do You Have a Clutter Problem? Take the Quiz!

cabinet drawer

6. Dump One Drawer

Pick just one drawer in your home to declutter. Then dump it out. This lets you see everything at a glance and makes the sorting process easier. Only put back the items you know you will use.

"DO NOT let your junk drawer become a home for items that you’re too lazy to put away," says HuffPost Home editor Jessica Cumberbatch Anderson

organized junk drawer

7. Organize Your Medicines

Medicine, bandages and other health supplies should be kept together. Tackle just your medicine cabinet, creating a neat and tidy place to keep the up-to-date items you use most regularly. If they are old, toss them out!

8. Create a Simple File System

Remember that paper zone? Soon it will overflow. Designate just a few file folders to hold your most common categories of paperwork. Then sort through the documents in your tray to file them quickly in their place.

Are you a Piler or a Filer?

9. Take That Bin to the Car

Once you have a few tiny tasks underway, you'll likely end up with a sizable amount of stuff to donate. Take the bag or box out to your car to deliver to the thrift shop. See how easy it is to get rid of stuff?

perfection is achieved not when there is nothing more to add but when there is nothing left to take away

10. Picture Your Finished Room

These small decluttering tasks are adding up. Take a look around and picture how your room might look when completely pared down and organized. Visualization is a powerful motivator. I love doing this. It gets me energized to declutter!

Following small decluttering tips is easy if you do it slow. Soon you'll be on your way to big life changes.

blog decluttering checklist

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More posts related to decluttering tips

Decluttering Your Life

10 Decluttering Tips to Use Today

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  • April says:

    This is my strategy exactly. Now if I could only learn how to keep my desk clean.

  • Smiling Notes says:

    I always love organizing tips and these are some really helpful and much-needed tips! Thanks for joining us at the Family Joy blog link up party. Pinned 🙂 xoxo

  • Megin says:

    Great tips! I love the one "just clear one surface" ~ you just need to get started!
    Visiting from Wow Us Wednesdays.
    ~ Megin of VMG206

  • Beverly Carter says:

    Great tips. Thanks for sharing at Over The Moon Party.

  • Joe @ Imperfect Disciples. says:

    Now... if only I could actually get myself to do these things. 🙂 Thanks for sharing at #TurnItUpTuesday

  • Vanessa says:

    These are great tips thank you for sharing at Dishing it and Digging it link party. We love having you

  • Emily says:

    Clutter is my downfall. Going to try these tips! Thanks for sharing at the Monday Funday Party! - Emily

  • Hatton says:

    Awesome tips... and small ones so they aren't overwhelming!

    • Vicki says:

      Thanks Hatton. I get easily overwhelmed by cleaning and organizing but I think these tips are manageable. Thanks for commenting!

  • Vanessa says:

    Thanks for sharing! I like the idea of cleaning one space. I feel so much better if the kitchen island is in order!

  • Kippi says:

    Great tips on tackling the clutter. I have been trying to declutter since we are updating our home to get it ready to sell!!! Can you tell I am excited? Happy New Year, Kippi

    • Vicki says:

      Hi Kippi! I've been there! But unfortunately, I am a chronic clutterer and it just keeps building back up. These tips do help though!

  • Jan says:

    We sold our house in August, lived in a temporary house for almost 4 months and have finally moved in to the condo we bought ... OMG there is soooo much stuff to go through (3500 square foot home to 950 square foot condo) ... I'm all about decluttering ... so emotional. So draining. BUT it must be done! Thanks for sharing these great tips at The Mark And Jan Show Let's Party!

  • Chas Greener says:

    Great article, I love decluttering and have been hitting it hard this past week. Thanks so much for sharing.

  • Kippi says:

    I decided that I would leave a comment to the blogger who posted right before. I have already posted a comment since I wanted to read it 3 days ago. Double comments cannot hurt. Have a wonderful weekend, Kippi #kippiathome